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Beaten 1,000-year-old skull of a young man is found in a remote Jerusalem cave

The severed hand and brutally beaten skull of a young man who died 1,000 years ago have been uncovered in a remote Jerusalem cave.

The grisly remains provide the earliest evidence of ‘blood vengeance’, researchers claim.

The skull shows signs of injuries that had healed, as well as evidence of a direct blow by a sword that caused ‘certain and immediate death.’

Researchers believe the young man was the victim of a revenge murder because only his head and right hand were left behind. 

Traditionally, these are the body parts that an ancient murderer in the region would keep if they killed someone out of revenge. 

The battered 1,000-year-old skull (pictured) and severed hand belongs to a man between the age of 25 and 40 years old who was killed violently by a blow to the head with a sword

Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University identified the bones which were found in an isolated cave located near the more known Avshalom cave in the Jerusalem hills. 

‘No armies passed by there, no village was destroyed. This was inter-personal violence’, Dr Yossi Nagar, an anthropologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority told Haaretz.

‘The most likely hypothesis is that the skull and bones, specifically of the right hand, had been deliberately isolated in this remote cave’.  

As the cave is in an inhospitable area in the Jerusalem hills it would have been a good place to discard the remains. 

Marks on the skullcap and right hand bones suggest the man was a victim of a feud rather than a normal murder. 

It is believed he died between the age of 25 and 40 years old.

‘The skull cap shows signs of two traumatic injuries that eventually healed – evidence of previous violence experienced by the victim – as well as a small cut-mark caused close to the time of death, and a blow by a sword that caused certain and immediate death’, researchers wrote in a statement.

Researchers say the head and right hand have always had a symbolic importance when it comes to blood vengeance.

Archaeologists referred to a text from the beginning of the 20th century that tells the story of a case of revenge.

The murderer presented his family with the skull and right hand of the victim in order to prove the carrying out of a commandment.

‘These are precisely the parts of the body that were discovered in the present case. Since this is a person who was previously involved’, researchers wrote.

Historically the head and right hand have symbolic importance when it comes to blood vengeance and experts say these parts were 'deliberately isolated' in this remote cave (pictured)

Historically the head and right hand have symbolic importance when it comes to blood vengeance and experts say these parts were ‘deliberately isolated’ in this remote cave (pictured)

WHAT IS BLOOD VENGEANCE?

Blood vengeance is a primitive form of law retribution where relatives of someone whose blood has been shed take revenge.

The idea is that when an individual is harmed his family must appease the death – or injury – by retaliating.

This means that one crime can lead to a series of crimes, or a ‘blood feud’, in which many subsequent crimes are committed.

In extreme cases, a whole family or clan can be annihilated for a single murder. 

The head and right hand have always had a symbolic importance of proof when it comes to blood vengeance. 

The oldest evidence for this practice was found in a cave in the Jerusalem hills. 

The battered 1,000-year-old skull and severed hand belonged to a man between the age of 25 and 40 years old. 

Marks on the skullcap and right hand bones suggest the man was a victim of a feud rather than a normal murder.  

Researchers found the skull showed great resemblance to the local Bedouin population, which apparently had a tradition of blood vengeance.

This is consistent with historical knowledge that suggests the Jerusalem hills were inhabited by a Bedouin population from Jordan and northern Arabia around 1,000 years ago. 

The researchers found the skull showed great resemblance to the local Bedouin population, which apparently had a tradition of blood vengeance. 

This is consistent with historical knowledge that suggests the Jerusalem hills were inhabited by a Bedouin population from Jordan and northern Arabia around 1,000 years ago. 

 Researchers (pictured) say the victim had clearly been no stranger to violence during his life. He had two healed injuries on his skull as well as the remains of a sword blow which probably killed him

 Researchers (pictured) say the victim had clearly been no stranger to violence during his life. He had two healed injuries on his skull as well as the remains of a sword blow which probably killed him

The only other bones found in the cave were two vertebrae. 

There are know gnaw marks on the skull or hand bones, leading researchers to dismiss the theory that scavenging creatures took the rest of the body away.

Iron Age pottery fragments were also found in the cave which could have been left behind by looters.

The findings will be presented at the 44th Archaeological Congress at Ben-Gurion University today.

Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University identified the bones which were found in an isolated cave located near the more known Avshalom cave in the Jerusalem hills

Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University identified the bones which were found in an isolated cave located near the more known Avshalom cave in the Jerusalem hills



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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